Friday, November 09, 2007

ME VS. COMCAST, IN 66 ROUNDS

There’s no “Five Finger Friday” this week. Like I said. I’ve been having “issues.”

Instead, let us break down the stupidity of the Comcastic service and the reason I hope all their phone monkeys die in a fire. People seem wildly interested. You will understand why I wish death on their phone monkeys.

Fair warning. This is long, long, long, long, long. More like 3800 words long.

I really don’t know what to do. I loathe Comcast. I could seriously contemplate doing without TV – except that I would then possess an insanely expensive modded TiVo box with no purpose other than decoration.

I also don’t know what I’d do without reliable high-speed Internet access at home. I NEED to be able to work at home for my real job.

If anyone has experience with aircards, please leave a comment. I’m a little leery of them – but am seriously thinking of going to the Verizon store to at least hear what they have to say. I belong to the cult of Apple – so take that into consideration.

ME VS. COMCAST, IN 66 ROUNDS

Comcast and I have been fighting a war since January. January people. It would be funny if it were not so tragically awful.

Fact the first: Comcast is a local monopoly. There is NO other option for cable television service, other than DISH Network.

Fact the second: The ONLY other option for Internet service is through Embarq – the rebranded Sprint local service – which enjoys a monopoly on the local telephone service.

SPRINT/EMBARQ IS NOT AN OPTION. I WILL CUT OFF BOTH LEGS, ONE ARM AND GOUGE OUT MY EYEBALLS WITH A RUSTY SALAD TONG BEFORE GIVING ANOTHER DOLLAR TO SPRINT.

Fact the third: Of the two, I used to despise Comcast marginally less. I also do not have a landline, which is why I went with Comcast for Internet service.

Fact the fourth: I live in an old building that was converted to apartments in an older area of town. It is quaint, has more charm than five Southern ladies and plays hell with infrastructure. The neighborhood was here before telephones and cable television and fiber-optics and all that jazz. Still, not my problem. That’s what I pay Comcast to deal with. That’s what I pay Comcast a VERY large chunk of money to deal with.

Fact the fifth: In JANUARY I began having problems where my digital cable (HBO/Showtime) and high-speed Internet would go out – but where I still had the basic tier of cable channels. Basic signal strength. I get everything but the digital cable channels. For some reason, it seems like I speak Swahili whenever I try to explain that to Comcast.

Fact the sixth: Highly annoyed that I am paying more than $140 a month for the privilege of not being able to watch “The Sopranos” or post to behindthecounter.com, I call Comcast. This is January 29. I have to schedule a “service call” for Feb. 2. They neglect to tell me that I will get a “confirmation call,” so I am in a phones-off-meeting at work when Comcast calls to “confirm” the appointment and miss the technician. Because of out-of-town obligations, I have to reschedule for Feb. 16 – a two-week time period during which my digital cable and Internet work only intermittently.

Fact the seventh: The “window” for the next service call is “1-5 p.m.” Having learned from the “confirmation call,” I take the afternoon of Feb. 16 off – and find myself unable to work from home because – SURPRISE - the Internet is out again. The “technician” arrives at 5:45 p.m. – at which point everything is working properly. Have I mentioned I hate Comcast? The technician looks at my modem, looks at the cable box, has me sign a sheet saying that he did indeed come to my apartment – and leaves. If he was in my presence for more than 3 minutes, I’ll eat my MacBook without soy sauce.

Fact the eighth: Five hours later, as I’m trying to catch up on the work I didn’t get done during the day, the Internet goes out again. I call Comcast. “Do you want to schedule a service call?” Well I guess so, since you seem incapable of resolving my problem. Maybe this tech will be brighter than the one before. My obvious irritation gets me an appointment on the Feb. 19. My Internet service is working intermittently – but more on than off.

Fact the ninth: The appointment window for Feb. 19 was 5-9 p.m. – I told them I couldn’t miss work just to wait for the “technician” to show up 45 minutes after the window closed. This “technician” walks in, says “It’s not your equipment. It’s a problem with the line,” has me sign the paper stating that he did come to my apartment and leaves. He was inside for less than one minute.

Fact the tenth: Things are good for two days, until I wake up on Feb. 21 and have no Internet service. I sigh and go to work. I come home ten hours later and there’s STILL no Internet service. I say “To hell with it” and go to bed. The next morning, Feb. 22, I wake up and see that I STILL don’t have Internet service. I get on the phone. “Do you want to schedule a service call?” NO! I DO NOT WANT A DAMN SERVICE CALL. IT IS NOT A SERVICE CALL. IT IS AN EXERCISE IN POINTLESS STUPIDITY.

Fact the eleventh: When faced with the third “Do you want to schedule a service call?” question, I detail the pointless service calls I have received so far. And I tell the phone monkey to look at the notes on the account. Her response “Oh. I guess there is a problem. Well, I can get you a service call.” I hung up on her.

Fact the twelfth: I get home on Feb. 22 and the Intarwebz are working again – right up until around 2 a.m.

Fact the thirteenth: Comcast gets another call. The first time I call, I wind through the phone system and wind up at a LOCAL billing facility in Kentucky. This only fills me with more rage. At this point I’ve decided that I’m through playing nice. I have the utmost respect for people in customer service positions, but a “service call” is not going to do it. Money will be refunded. Please note that I had to request a credit. At no point during ANY conversation with ANY Comcast CSR did ANY person EVER offer to compensate me for the outages.

Fact the fourteenth: In the early morning hours of Feb. 23, I get another stupid phone monkey – who seems to share the trait of being unable to listen and COMPREHEND what the customer is saying to her. As soon as she asks “Do you want to schedule a service call,” I tell her NO and tell her exactly why. The problem is NOT with my line, my equipment or anything else under my control. A “service call” isn’t going to fix any of that. What I need is for Comcast to fix their bad infrastructure. My irritation was mighty. It had been two weeks of essentially no Internet at home – even though I was paying Comcast an enormous sum each month. Her response? “Well, I can schedule a service call and put a note to send a supervisor or a ‘super technical’ person out there.”

Fact the fifteenth: We set up a service call for Feb. 28. I get a 3-7 p.m. window and a substantial credit.

Fact the sixteenth: My Internet manages to stay on until Feb. 28. It manages to go out an hour before the technician arrives. I actually thank the entire pantheon of gods in the heavens, because I can now demonstrate what is happening with words and pictures – because it is my considered opinion that the Comcast “technicians” are as dumb as a sack of hammers.

Fact the seventeenth: This turns out to be just another ‘service call.’ The ‘super technical’ person turns out to be just another technician – albeit one with a slightly higher degree of competence. This one actually LISTENS when I explain what is going on – and says “It’s a problem with the line – you’re losing signal strength.” WELL I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT. I TOLD EVERY SINGLE PERSON I EVER TALKED TO AT COMCAST THAT I GOT BASIC CABLE BUT NOT DIGITAL AND HIGH-SPEED INTERNET. COMPLETE EFFING MORONS WHO DO NOT AND CANNOT LISTEN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS.

Fact the eighteenth: This technician actually makes the effort to go out and root around in the yard behind my apartment building and test the wires coming into my apartment. He replaces the connections on my apartment’s specific wire and shows me a device that measures the signal strength. It clearly shows that I’m not getting enough ‘oomph’ for premium cable and high-speed Internet.

Fact the nineteenth: I sign yet another “Tech wuz here” form, and the technician promises to report back and have a line crew sent out to “look at the lines in the area.”

Fact the twentieth: We’re good until the early morning hours of March 13, when I again experience withdrawal of Internet service. Comcast gets another phone call.

Fact the twenty-first: This time around, I get a phone monkey who offers a “service call,” gets my NO AND HERE’S WHY reply and only then looks at the notes. She tells me that the technician never requested any follow up action. I wanted to throw the phone through a window.

Fact the twenty-second: I get yet ANOTHER service call for March 22 – “because we’re just really busy.” Damn. I wonder why? Could it be you have craptastic service? This service call is double-promised to be the ever-elusive line crew and I confirm with the phone monkey that I do not need to be at my apartment for this. I also get a credit for a week of service.

Fact the twenty-third: Flash-forward to March 22. I have working Internet at home. I’m in a meeting at work when I get a phone call from Comcast to confirm my “service call.” I wanted to physically beat someone until they were bloody, then continue to reduce the meatbag to its component parts – using just my hands.

Fact the twenty-fourth: I tell the tech that I don’t want a service call, and that I want a line crew. I also tell him that I’m not driving home just for him to say “Yup. It’s a problem with the line.” The tech asks if I am canceling the call. I tell him that he can do whatever he wants, but I’m not wasting any more time with Comcast.

Fact the twenty-fifth: I get home around 6 p.m. on March 22 only to find that – SHOCKER – my Internet is out again. Comcast gets another call.

Fact the twenty-sixth: This phone monkey informs me that I canceled a service call that afternoon and should not be complaining – because calls can take like eight days to get set up. I demand the phone monkey read the notes on the account. “Oh.” More promises of a line crew.

Fact the twenty-seventh: Sometime after midnight on April 3, my service, which has been off-and-on, but more on than off, conks out entirely.

Fact the twenty-eight: April 4, an entire day with no service.

Fact the twenty-ninth: April 5, an entire day with no service.

Fact the thirtieth: April 6, an entire day with no service.

Fact the thirty-first: April 7 dawns and I have Internet service – right up to the point I go out to get lunch and come back. It’s out again. I have become used to such “comcastic” service by now. I just sacrifice another floppy disk at the altar of the modem and pray it comes back on. Soon. Please. Must have LOLcatz.

Fact the thirty-second: Some time after midnight on April 9, I decide that I have had enough of Comcast’s shitty service. I call, get the “Do you want to schedule a service call?” spiel and demand to speak with a supervisor.

Fact the thirty-third: This complete and utter tool of a human being and I spend more than 40 minutes on the telephone arguing about why I “HAVE” to have a service call in order for me to get a credit. I detail the entire list of issues I have had with Comcast – including the multiple time-wasting “service calls.” Allegedly, it is Comcast policy to not issue a credit until the problem is “resolved.” WELL MOTHER-F*****. I WANT A CREDIT FOR EVERY SINGLE DAY SINCE FEBRUARY 9 BECAUSE MY PROBLEM IS STILL NOT RESOLVED. Apparently, because I did not call to report the outage on the first day I did not have service – April 3, I can’t get a credit for any day prior to today. And battle is joined. Note to Comcast: Whoever this CSR is, you need to promote them, or pay them more. They have drunk the Comcastic Kool-Aid and will defend your slutty Comcastic honor to their last breath.

Fact the thirty-fourth: After 40 minutes of me refusing a service call and ComTool refusing to give me a credit unless I agreed to a time-wasting service call, I capitulated. I sold my honor for a $35 credit. I got a service call for April 10 – with a 1-5 p.m. window.

Fact the thirth-fifth: I told ComTool that I was completely disgusted with the way Comcast was treating me – an that I felt like I was being ignored every time I called – even though there were pages of notes on my account. Moreover, I felt that I was not getting good value for my money. ComTool – probably because he was as sick of talking to me as I was talking to him – told me to call every time my service was out to request a credit - which is a DIRECT contradiction to how things are ALLEGED to work.

Fact the thirty-sixth: The morning of April 10 dawns and I have Internet service. I get a queasy feeling, because morning service usually means no afternoon service and vice versa. I sacrifice another floppy disk to the altar of the modem in the hope that if it does go out, it will be out when this latest idiot technician is here.

Fact the thirty-seventh: I take ANOTHER afternoon off work and come home to wait for ComTech. Five o’clock rolls around and there is nothing. Six o’clock and nothing. Seven o’clock and nothing. At least I still have Internet service. At 7:30 p.m., the technician calls and says he is “running late.” REALLY!

Fact the thirty-eighth: This technician comes, says “It’s a problem with the line,” pokes around the box that has the lines going up to my apartment, sees that another tech replaced the connection and tests the signal strength. I’ve still got Internet, so of course it is bumping. He tells me “I don’t know.” I AM TELLING YOU WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. It is NOT the line into my apartment. It is NOT my equipment. It is the MAIN LINE FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD. HOW HARD IS THAT TO UNDERSTAND?

Fact the thirty-ninth: I sign yet another “Tech wuz here” form and go back upstairs to my apartment. The Internet is out. I debate my options: drink, drugs or a chainsaw. Maybe a hammer like that crazy woman in Pennsylvania.

Fact the fortieth: I immediately call Comcast and demand they confirm I just had a service call and yet still do not have service. “Do you want to schedule another service call?” Only the fact that I knew getting angry at this stupid cow would solve NOTHING prevented me from going into a fit which would have rivaled any white trash throwdown at any Wal-Mart anywhere in America.

Fact the forty-first: I demand a credit. “Well, we don’t do that.” I’m sorry, but you are unable to provide me with service. I want a credit. “Okay.”

Fact the forty-second: My Internet service resumes a day later and manages to bump along for a couple months. April, May, June. July. August. It looks like they finally fixed whatever needed fixing. There are intermittent outages, but these usually occur sometime around 3 a.m. and are usually over by the time I wake up and leave for work. Given the balance of how bad it WAS, I’m happy to have service 95% of the time.

Fact the forty-third: On August 11, the Internet starts burping again. My service goes out for the entire day on the August 11. I’m not around much on a Saturday, so I don’t really let it bother me. I figure it will come back Sunday.

Fact the forty-fourth: I wake up Sunday morning and the service is still out. I come home from the House of Wal at 11:30 p.m. and the service is still out. I’m angry, but don’t feel like picking at the scab of my Comcastic wounds just right then.

Fact the forty-fifth: I wake up Monday, August 13 and see that I have service again. I chalk it up to a momentary interruption and forget about it.


Fact the forty-sixth: August 15, my service goes out again around 10 p.m. I take it as a sign and go to bed.

Fact the forty-seventh: August 16 dawns and service is still not restored. I call Comcast and argue with them for a while. “Do you want to schedule a service call?” NO.

Fact the forty-eighth: Comcast’s phone monkeys and I, we do a little pas de deux while arguing over a credit for the past week. “I can’t give you a credit if you don’t have a service call.” I DON’T WANT A SERVICE CALL. IT IS A WASTE OF MY TIME AND YOURS. “I can’t give you a credit if you don’t have a service call. We don’t give a credit until the problem is ‘resolved.’” This would have been cute if I had not gotten at least three credits without a “resolution” to my problem.

Fact the forty-ninth: I allow them to schedule a service call. I pick a day at random and ask for the latest possible block. When the technician calls to confirm the appointment, I press IGNORE on my phone. If you waste my time with your vast reservoir of stupidity and unhelpfulness, I will waste yours.

Fact the fiftieth: The problem sorts itself out by August 21. A credit for about $10 later shows up on my September bill.

Fact the fifty-first: Throughout late summer and into fall, I experience only brief outages – usually late at night and nearly always gone by the time I wake up.

Fact the fifty-second: Some time around 11 p.m. on November 1 I lose Internet service. Seeing as how this is the first time in at least a month I’ve had an outage, I chalk this one up to bad luck and move on. I’m back online the next morning.

Fact the fifty-third: Some time after midnight on November 3 I lose service again. I sigh and move on. I’m back online the next morning.

Fact the fifty-fourth: I am without service when I get home around midnight on November 4. I’m NOT back up the next morning but appear to be OK by late afternoon.

Fact the fifty-fifth: Depressingly, I am without service when I arrive home around 10 p.m. on Nov. 5. I can’t deal and just go to bed. Repeat on November 6.

Fact the fifty-sixth: I’m trying to write on Wednesday night (Nov. 7) when I lose Internet service around 1 a.m. I am in a really evil mood, so I pick up the phone and call Comcast. “Do you want to schedule a service call?”

Fact the fifty-seventh: Phone monkey is unimpressed by the litany of issues documented on my account and repeatedly demands that I take a service call – or else she can’t help me. I refuse, ask that my outages be documented on my account and request a transfer to Billing for credits.

Fact the fifty-eighth: The phone monkey in Billing is even worse. “I can’t give you a credit without a service call. We don’t give a credit until the problem is resolved.” EVEN THOUGH A ‘SERVICE CALL’ IS NOT GOING TO RESOLVE MY PROBLEM?

Fact the fifty-ninth: The ComBill wench and I go round-and-round for at least twenty minutes. Apparently, their history of bad service is my fault, because I have placed any “potential” credit in danger by not reporting the problem immediately. “If you want a credit for Nov. 2, why didn’t you call on Nov. 2.” I straight up told her – “I have better things to do than stay on the phone with Comcast all day, every day.”

Fact the sixtieth: We agree to disagree – and to submit my account for “research” to determine if I really had an outage. I PAY YOU $144 EVERY MONTH AND YOU ARE ARGUING WITH ME OVER A HALF-DAY CREDIT FOR FIVE DAYS? I hope every single one of your diseased howler monkey loin fruit dies a horrible death – except the one who lives long enough to abandon you in a nursing home.

Fact the sixty-first: About 1 a.m. on November 9, as I am writing this history of my travails with Comcast, I lose Internet service yet again.

Fact the sixty-second: I call Comcast. “Do you want to schedule a service call?” NO! I DO NOT WANT A SERVICE CALL.

Fact the sixty-third: Phone monkey starts muttering “Let me look at your modem.” I tell him “There is no problem with my equipment, the line into my apartment or my connection. Please check the notes and confirm what I am saying.” Phone monkey goes “Oh.”

Fact the sixty-fourth: This phone monkey looks at the notes on the account and pretends to listen when I say that having a ‘service call’ is a waste of time. I request a line crew. I now allegedly have a line crew.

Fact the sixty-fifth: Phone monkey asks how long I’ve been having an outage, even though this was allegedly documented last night. I tell him. He “checks” something and tells me “Yeah. I can see where the modem has been going offline overnight all week.” I wanted to scream at him.

Fact the sixty-sixth: I bite my tongue and ask him to put all this into my file. I will have ammo the next time I go into battle with the wenches in Comcast Billing.

Have I mentioned I hate Comcast?

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you tried getting a new modem from them?

wvpv said...

Time for the Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb.

I'm surprised you have put up with it this long.

Anonymous said...

When I lived in FL I had Comcast to and much like your experiences, HATE! Then I moved away and for a few years lived in bliss of another company. Then I move to KS - SHIT, Comcast only again! SHIT, SHIT, SHIT. THANK YOU GOD for AT&T, their new U-Verse service is now being offered here. I've had it for a month and am severely tempted to kiss my modem and cable boxes everyday when they turn on.

Cliff O'Neill said...

Crickey!

And I thought I had problems with my old Earthlink people!

Anyhoo, Mac-head that I am, I got my dad hooked up with a wireless card on his PowerBook and (except for his jumping the gun on Leopard) things are reliable for him. Seems you have to get a third-party driver for the card, but they work OK.

Good luck! Love the blog. Make me realize how much I don't miss being the "get me a manager" guy from my previous life.

Anonymous said...

Call your State regulatory commission and file a complaint. Then contact an attorney. I smell a class action suit in the wind.

Jaylene with Photography by Jaylene said...

I have the national broadband access from verizon with a pc. Primarily because ATT sucks and my only alternative is COMCAST. It is $60ish a month and works like a champ. I take it to my kids practices and can even use it to access the internet when driving down the highway (well someone else is driving, And whoever anonymous in KS is I have Uverse too and have since April and have only paid for 1 month of service. That is how many problems I have had. I am in Olathe

Anonymous said...

Vote with your dollars. Comcast doesnt care, because you keep paying them.

Next time you get the run around, ask to speak to an account retention specialist or somesuch.

The average phone monkey doesnt have much in the way of brains or power to help you. Chances are their supervisors dont either. But it costs companys a fourtune to acquire new customers, so the rentention people can often do things that others cant.

For the record, though, comcast blows. If you have a macbook, why not just find a free hotspot?

Anonymous said...

I know you hate embarq but I work for them and have a vested interest in making sure your working all the time , if you change ur mind let me know ohnny5atembarqmail.com

Mike said...

Here are the emails for several Crumcrust executives from the Consumerist. I second the motion of the EECB, plus I would find out who your local cable regulator is.

When I was having trouble, I got to about round 5, and I told them if a supervisor did not call me back within 48 hours I would be contacting the Arlington County office of Public Utility Control. That got their attention.

Make sure to copy the regulator on your EECB to Comcrap.ht

Anonymous said...

^ johnny5(at)embarqmail.com

Becky in Iowa :O) said...

And I thought life on dialup sucked! I connect at 28.2k and am knocked offline at least 3 or 4 times a day. But at least I only pay $15 a month for it. LOL Out here in the boonies of Iowa, our only choices are dial-up or satellite service. hmmm I'll go the $15 route tyvm.

Anonymous said...

You're an example of a cusomter who is almost allowed to be rude because of the way they've treated you.
What the hell is it with their service calls.

MoralCompass said...

My blood pressure soared just reading this. I'll call some people who know people and see if we can get you a line crew.

Ceadda said...

How much do you like where you're living? I mean, is it WORTH all this trouble? I know, it feels like giving in and letting Comcast control where you live but you could cajole yourself with saying that you need to move for your job. People do that for real all the time. You have to be online to work from home, you have to have a better connection.

mmmskaysthen said...

Hey BBCAmerican -- would you, could you, possibly consider, maybe think about being interested in a fun time by SCHEDULING A SERVICE CALL? Sorry, I couldn't resist.

My AT&T (nee Cingular) Air Card has worked great for almost 2 years. I don't ever have any problems with it; it never goes out and it never crashes so there's no problem with that service that I can describe to you.

The disclaimer is that I live in a rural area, and there is probably not much competition for the airwaves. I couldn't vouch for it being perfect in a metro area, so if others know how well these cards perform inside cities, I also would be interested in hearing your stories. I may want to be a big city girl one day, like Rhoda.

P L said...

We have Comcast up here in Chicagoland, and it is an absolute horrid waste!! They too have the monopoly around here, unless you go with a dish, and we've had a ton of issues like you, (only no where near as bad!!!) We haven't had problems with our internet (knock on wood), but our cable has given us nightmares!! The most recent was yesterday, when our box stopped working. They said it was because they sent out an update to the firmware, but the tech guy said he'd been to a lot of calls simply resetting the boxes because they didn't take the update. Gee....ya think there might be something wrong with the system??? sigh...stupid comcast.....

Good luck fighting with them!!! Hope you win in the end. ;)

Captain Zoom said...

I worked DSL support in another life. Ended up on the "extra bizarre problems" team. Here are some thoughts: The fact that it worked all summer for you and gets crappy during the winter, coupled with the fact that you're in Florida, makes my bet that your line is having a problem sharing with snowbirds. Always having trouble at specific times of the day? How does that track with behavior patterns of said snowbirds. I had a customer who's DSL went out every morning after he went to work but was always on when he got home (his wife couldn't use it.) Finally determined the old lady next to him was drenching his connection terminal and shorting a wire when she watered in the morning. It fixed itself when the sun hit the box and dried it out.

I'm not suggesting you'll be able to fix it this way, but sometimes you can start to notice things when it goes out.

*shrug* hope it helps.

BeadKnitter said...

I can't help with Comcast, but I can send you a hug, which it sounds like you need pretty badly.

***HUG***

I sure hope this problem gets fixed. Contact the local utility commission or the State regulatory commission or something. Get the gov't on their back.

Heck, I might even contact the local news media on this one.

I have a land line for the sole purpose of having Verizon DSL. It's been very very reliable.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Best of luck and thanks again for making my day with your post, though I'm sorry it was due to your pain.

I had a similar experience with SBC/AT&T/whatevertheyarethisweek and my DSL line. I need a static IP for various reasons, so I can't do the nice local cable company because that puts you in the "business" tier which is entirely too expensive.

My DSL line would go out randomly and for no reason. After a very similar experience that you've had with 4 people coming out I *finally* got an old school guy that figured it out.

The telecom box on the side of my apartment building faces the Texas afternoon sun. That afternoon sun added enough heat to temporarily melt parts of the comm board inside at random times (he showed me, it was insane). That was causing my problem. It turns out my neighbor had a similar issue and a previous tech had. The comm board in question had no logic (think point a to point b) so he just ran wires over the comm board like the other guy had.

Boom, rock solid for over a year now. Of course it only took 4 months and the luck of getting a tech that had been around long enough to think "inside" the box instead of inside the wall.

Kevin said...

The Comcast contractors out here in California seem to be much more competent. They tend to be independent contractors doing service calls for Comcast, so I imagine that the quality varies.

I had a problem with intermittent Internet outages (although no problems with our digital channels) and scheduled a service call with Comcast. A contractor came out, measured the signal strength, and quickly determined that the signal strength on the line was too weak.

At the point it seems that that's where your Comcast contractors stopped. The contractor here knew an easy solution for this. He had some device (a little box thing about the size of a power brick) that boosts the signal on the line and put it in our house where the cable line comes in. It plugs into power socket in the wall to provide the power boost. He also made some adjustments to compensate for the signal booster, so if it comes unplugged the pictures on our TVs suddenly get fuzzier, so we can definitely tell when it comes unplugged. Since then, there hasn't been any Internet outages.

The best part of all was that it didn't cost me anything.

Try asking for a device like that.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I had the same problem! Needed the line crew because the signal was too weak, but the damn line crew never came. When they did manage to get out to my place, they realized that the box that serviced my apartment building was, like, a decade old. The technicians started laughing when they saw it. They had to replace everything.

Wasn't funny, though, because it took months to finally get them there...

Anonymous said...

Short version: get this picked up by the Consumerist. Heck, they might run fiber to your bedroom ;-)

I've been fighting Comcast since I moved into an apartment. Every time someone moves into or out of an apartment, or changes a service...the tech manages to destroy my Internet service. I've asked the CSRs to note this, so that maybe, just perhaps they won't disconnect me next time.

When they break things, I have basic cable, but my Comcast voice and digital services both go out. I call. I get a 4 hour service window. They promise the tech will call, so I can make it home from work. They don't. They're unwilling to wait 15 minutes...so I lose a half a work day every time they com e out.

Did I mention I'm an IT professional? Augh!

They come out, open the box, tighten the connection, or reconnect (see below) my cable, and then leave. A month goes by. Another person moves in. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I've even chased a tech down while wearing pajamas because they broke my service at 8 AM on a Saturday morning. To quote the tech "Oh, yours is the one that was just hanging loose." YES! But you see, it was working until a moment ago, so it was hanging loose because YOU unhooked it! Brilliant!

You are very very much not alone.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a bill working its way through Congress that will end the apartment/cable monopolies. If it goes through, then every cable provider under the sun will have a whole new market to compete for.

There may be hope for you if you wait it out. But it could take several months or years.

FARfetched said...

Are you on speaking terms with your neighbors? Are they having the same issues?

If not, chances are you have a bad piece of coax running from the demarc (where the line comes in from the street) to your apartment. If that's the case, I guess the apartment manager would have to fix it. Insist they they use double-shielded RG-6 coax; if they try to cheap with with RG-59 from Radio Shack, you'll probably be in the soup all over again.

If everyone's having trouble, it could be either the "drop" cable running from the demarc to the tap (the box on the main line), or the tap could have too high of an attenuator, or the tap might need to be replaced. It sounds like your line crew has been less than diligent in trying to track this down.

When they ask if you want a service call again, take a deep breath and say yes. When the tech comes and offers you the paper, tell him "I'm not signing anything until this works." See if that makes a difference.

I don't think it's a snowbird issue, like Captain Zoom suggests, because you would still get digital TV and at least some slow data. It's conking out overnight a lot, too — it might be temperature-related, and something as simple as tightening the drop cable connections could do the job.

Good luck with this thing!

Anonymous said...

Just be careful if you go the wireless route- they have a very small tolerance for lots of data going over their connections.

Anonymous said...

For someone who works in customer service you know diddly about getting results. After dealing with a remarkably similar situation with DirecTv (although mine included them stealing money out of my bank account - far more than I supposedly "owed"), I have learned that your best friend is your state attorney general's office.

I now deal with Comcast, and I agree that they suck rotten monkey balls. But they also hand out credits like water. So far, I've gotten my first three months free because of their stupidity. You automatically get $20 if they are late for a service call. You need to kick ass and take names.

Anonymous said...

We had very similar problems with our triple play package from Comcast here in Delaware. Cable would go out, phone and internet would be fine. Phone would go out, cable would be fine. It was really aggravating.

After a few service calls, one finally told us there were a lot of people in our area having the same problems. Then, Comcast came out and did a lot of work in the area, and we really haven't had a problem since.

I did also invest in a 2-way signal booster for the cable modem - an RCA DT100M $34.99 at Best Buy.

Hope your problems get resolved soon! Dealing with call centers can be a complete aggravation.

Anna On The Moon said...

I have nearly the same conversations with Comcast. I had a tech to my house TWICE, and both times they refused to go under my house to check the lines! I finally got a new modem at the end of August, because I was sick of them telling me it was my modem. Now? they're trying to tell me I should "replace my ethernet cable". The best part was when they asked me if I knew how ping and traceroute worked!

Anonymous said...

You wished death on their children? That's wrong.

Anyway, we're in Michigan and we have Comcast. They are really good here, and I'm surprised you're having such a hard time with them. Few things are more frustrating than having your computer crap out on you all the time.
Sending good karma your way in the hopes of finding a "resolution" soon.

Kider said...

I might recommend moving to Canada (S. Ontario in this case)
You WILL get crappy service from time to time, but there's way less monopolies here, and almost as many wal-marts :(
My new(er) internet connection has a downtime rate of 0.009% with up to 400k per second and it's not a nationwide corporation! Cheap too, not to mention wireless access. No complaints.
Keep up the bloggo-awesemo. cheers

chunes said...

You are far stronger than I! I would have suicide-bombed their headquarters after fact the twentieth!

yoyo said...

Jesus. And I thought I had it bad being assfucked by BT.
:(
It feels better to vent like that, doesent it?

Anonymous said...

i used to have comcast too...it would go out CONSTANTLY. we would call them and tell them something was wrong, and they would tell us they couldn't detect any problems on their end, but they'd send a technician over to check it out anyone. however, if the tech found no problem that was their fault, they would charge us for their time. right after we got off the phone with them, the internet was working fine....it stopped cutting out on us. of course, we had already scheduled a service call because we knew it wasn't anything we did. so what did we do when the tech came? we didn't answer the door & therefore couldn't sign any paperwork, & we didn't get charged for any damn service call. haha

Rodger said...

I work as a tech (Mac, PC, and do network troubleshooting, maintainence, configuration, and repair on our Cisco routers, switches, and access points). I hope that's enough to give you confidence that when I say that I've been pretty damned impressed with the Verizon national broadband access cards. I don't have any experience with AT&T's solution, but I can say that we use their metro-e connection for our company and all its offices across the South, and ugh.. when they go down it's a nightmare to get anything done, so I avoid AT&T at all costs.

I set up the Verizon card on a MacBook Pro and it was a breeze. I was pretty impressed. So as a way to give Comcast the finger, you should consider going that route. Be sure you let someone high-up know you're going that route.

catdancer said...

CSRs all seem to have room-temperature IQs, so it's no wonder you haven't gotten satisfaction.
The suggestions from others to contact a state agency is a good one. If there's an agency devoted to cable or communications oversight, try them.
My state insurance commissioner resolved a 4-month long nightmare in less than 2 weeks.
If you don't get results at the state level, perhaps you could contact the FCC.
If you have a TV station that does customer generated investigations, you might give them a call.

ShopGirl said...

As I read your facts, it was like experiencing last year all over again in our coverted-warehouse-to-lofts building in Northern Cali. Basically every time someone in our building complained, someone else got moved to the end of the row. Then they'd complain, get moved to the front of the line, etc. My favorite neighbor, bless him for digging his heels in and having the time to do so. How anyone can just take time off for all these service calls is beyond me. What's your compensation?! Anyway, here's a link to his rant on Broadband Reports/DSL Reports - we finally got a new line into the building and it is considerably better. Still not 100%, but way better than the previous 20%. http://www.dslreports.com/comment/1900/53985

GOOD LUCK! And do stay away from Sprint. I abhor them after a cellphone experience like your cable experience. Now I'm having a similar go around with Wells Fargo. Banks and phone companies. GRRRR!

GrecoRoman said...

Comcast sucks. I WANT to give them $149 a month. There's a Comcast line that ends at my mailbox. They won't turn it on.

I've called once a year every year for the last 11 years - "I'd like service. There's a line at the end of my driveway. How about turning it on and letting me write Comcast a check every month?"

Every year, the phone person says "Yes, there's a line there. We aren't offering service in your neighborhood."

"What can do do to get service?"

"Nothing. We're not offering service in your neighborhood."

"But the line's already there. Just wire me up and charge me $140 a month."

"We are not currently offering service in your neighborhood and there are no plans to."

Sigh.

Seriously, for the 11 years I've TRIED to become a Comcast customer, they've missed out on about $13,000.

And that's just me, not even the dozen or so neighbors within a 1/4 mile that would sign up too. That company is so damn dumb I wonder how they stay in business.

Come to find out they only offer service to NEW construction. So 40% of my county is without cable service and WILL NEVER GET IT. How stupid is that?

Anonymous said...

I had the same exact problem! They said the lines were bad just like yours. Have the tech put a new modem on. That was my problem. The 1st modem I had was bought from comcast when I hooked up 2 years ago. It was a shitty modem Web Star i think. I no longer have problems. Just try the new modem. It can't hurt. Good luck!
peace
matthew

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are not being nearly a big enough pain in the ass. Call every time it goes out. Note the name of the tech you get. If they ask if you want a service call, say yes. When it's up the next morning call to cancel the service call and get a refund.

And, (how could you miss this?) demand to speak with a manager at the first hint of resistance from the CSR. They often *can't* dump screwed-over customers on the boss unless the customer specifically makes the request, and have to keep parroting back the script (I'm sorry sir, we can't offer a rebate until the service call is complete...) while the manager (as you know) will give away the whole store to get you to go away.

Don't be afraid to threaten to leave for wireless or their arch-nemesis, satellite. You should have two pages of rebates on your bill, whatever the teaser intro offer is, and free pay channels for life by now.

Susan said...

I live in NJ and also HATE COMCAST. As soon as DSL became available we switched and it is FASTER AND MORE RELIABLE then Comcast. Because the only thing worse then Comcast's customer service is Verizon's technical support.

A comcast sales guy actually had the nerve to show up at my door the other day. I told him that even if they paid me $100 a month I would NEVER swich back to Comcast. Death to Comcast!!!

manderson said...

I had a similar issue with signal strength and comcast. My building is about 100 years old, etc etc etc.

Guy came out, said it was signal strength, blah blah blah.

I tried to explain the issue. Seeing that I am from the TV industry, I know what the problem is. I can test the crappy equipment myself.

Instead of calling again, try this:

Go to Radio shack, buy an RF Amplifier and an extra 2 or 4 feet of coax cable. Connect the RF Amp to the wall, cable modem and TV to RF Amp. Crank it up to max power.

Do not plug it in next to the cable splitter for the whole apt, just keep it tucked behind the tv/computer so they don't see it when they come in for service. (They will get confused)

It won't solve the problem totally, but may give your service some more stability.

If it doesn't work, you're only out 15 bucks.

Anonymous said...

I've had various forms of Comcast and have typically been happy with them. However, I feel like my luck is about to change. I needed to install new service. 1) The technician shows up 2 hours late. 2) He doesn't have the equipment and has to leave to go get it 3) he brings his GIRLFRIEND along for the installation. Yep, into my house. She couldn't wait nice in the truck. And then she had the nerve to ask to use my bathroom?

Anonymous said...

Replace the word Comcast with Cablevision, and you are writing my story. My internet cuts in and out, and is only on about 50% of the time. Sometimes I have to choose between TV and net.

I'd switch my TV to Direct TV in a heartbeat if I knew that I could find an alternative way for Internet service without a landline.

I hear ya 100% on these monopoly cable companies

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Comcast phone monkey here. In Minnesota, where I work, if you have fewer than five outlets and you're still not getting enough of a signal, we'll put in an amp at no charge. Try pushing for that. And ask *everyone* you talk to for a name and an extension. If you were my customer, I'd have given you my info without your having to ask, and I'd be following up, but maybe we have more autonomy than your local reps.

I really am sorry for all the trouble you're having. Wish I could fix it from here. :-(

Anonymous said...

Same trouble with Time Warner, which I believe is actually ComCast in desguise. If they would pluck their heads out of their asses long enough to comprehend a complete sentence, they might finally get their line issues fixed and have some breathing room.

Anonymous said...

^yes, comcast just bought out timewarner.

sprint and comcast are both evil leviathans.

file all of this info with the state regulatory people AND the better business bureau.

keep complaining, no matter how crazy/heated it makes you feel.

Anonymous said...

Comcast will most likely never actually solve your problem, unfortunately. I'm a former comcast customer and I went round and round with them for a year. They would tell me it was the modem and it would be replaced with a refurbished one that would work ok for maybe a week.

After they got sick of giving me credits and I got sick of them never actually fixing the problem, I switched to AT&T. I don't have a land line, but it's only like 3 dollars more a month for a dry loop high speed line. I pay 28 dollars a month for it and I've never once experienced a loss of service.

If you get DirecTv or Dish at around 70 a month, depending on what channels you need. You could save 50 bucks a month including many headaches. Dump Concast.